July 2, 2019 Subject:
interesting little story but a huge plot hole ruins it
The story begins with witnesses claiming that they saw a man die in a house fire. Obviously, the police and coroner are going to conduct a search for the remains of the body as soon as the fire is out and the ashes cool, right? Even in a raging inferno there are going to be some charred bones remaining.
Hammett never mentions this one way or another, but it is something readers are going to assume happened. But the way the story ends, any search of the ruins would have come up empty -- there WAS no body and therefore no murder victim. So what was the point of the investigation of murder by arson?
I was somewhat entertained by the story and it only took 20 minutes or so to read, but I felt distinctly cheated at the end.